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Babies-the Film

In: Film and Music

Submitted By dnmn5022
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I really enjoyed the documentary, Babies. What struck me initially was the lack of any dialogue, yet it was not necessary to be able to follow the film. It was really incredible seeing the different lifestyles and parenting methods in the various countries, yet all of the babies were still developing and reaching their “milestones.” I thought that the movie did an excellent job organized each developmental stage for each of the babies’ lives (we see each one learning to crawl, hand eye coordination, feeding, interacting with others, etc.)
While each culture brought its own uniqueness to the development stage, the actual milestone remained the same. An example would be with Ponijao from Namibia. In that culture, it was not uncommon for other mothers to breastfeed other children where as in the other cultures shown, breastfeeding was between a mother and her child. Even though Ponijao was breastfed by other women, he was still able to recognize and attach with his mother. Another thing that was interesting was Ponijao’s culture did not have many resources/material items (toys, diapers etc.) the children there seemed to be the happiest children featured. They did not seem to mind playing with rocks or their lack of clothes. IT seemed like their mother took the primary active role in parenting and kind of had a “this is what we have, make the most of it.”
This leads to my next example with Mari and Hattie. I was surprised with the amount of similarities displayed to these two girls. Prior to seeing this movie, I did not realize the parenting styles were very similar (playdates, amount of toys, parents taking the children outside of the home, and involvement of the child’s extended family.) Previously I had just thought that these parenting styles were only common in the US, mainly the amount of toys and the child interacting with others at such a young age. Both of these two girls were provided more than enough toys, attention, things to do outside of the home yet were shown throwing the most tantrums. Mari would be in her room becoming frustrated with her toys and then throwing an all-out fit. Neither Ponijao nor Bayar displayed this, yet both of them had significantly less items.
Bayar from Mongolia’s development, in my opinion was the most interesting. He was being raised in a rural area that consisted of just his family (yes, they did show some of the “neighbors” bud seeing how remote his farm was, it was not likely that they played a major role in his development.) Most of the time shown with Bayar it seemed that he was left alone or with his brother while his parents were tending to the farm. Although he was left alone, he still displayed of the characteristics of development that the other children (featured in the movie) had. I thought it was very interesting how Bayar’s brother showed little desire (to have)/interest in his brother. Being in such a remote a remote location I would think that he would want a brother as someone to spend his time with and grow together, clearly that was not the case.
I also liked how there was no major focus on the parents aside from their interactions with their child. I think this “style” helped transition between the different cultures and developmental stages. While there were many culture and economic divisions, by keeping the documentary solely based on the parent-child interactions it really helped illustrating the developmental stages regardless of child’s background/culture.

References: Balmès, Thomas, dir. Babies. Writ. Alain Chabat. Canal , 2010. Film. 02 Feb 2014.

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